- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

Having lost out to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Jay Cutler on Thursday, the Washington Redskins now have to reassure Jason Campbell that ownership and the front office are behind him.

The good news for the Redskins is that Campbell won’t act like Cutler, who pouted his way out of Denver after it tried to trade him last month.

Moments after the Bears announced they had acquired Cutler for three draft picks (including two first-round selections) and quarterback Kyle Orton, Campbell remained as levelheaded and professional as ever.

“Truth be told, through the whole process, I was prepared for whatever decision they made,” Campbell told The Washington Times in a phone interview. “I always kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m still the Washington Redskins’ quarterback.’ ”

Campbell entered this offseason motivated to perform because he’s due to become a free agent next winter. In contrast to many other teams, the Redskins have declined to give their young quarterback a new, more lucrative contract. So Campbell now has the additional incentive of showing owner Dan Snyder - who orchestrated the trade talks for Cutler - that he deserves to become the long-term quarterback.

“You’re going to play with a little more of a chip on your shoulder,” Campbell said. “My mindset will be to play extremely hard. I would have done that regardless. I want to do everything I can to help us win. That will be my motivation even though I know that I was shopped around a little bit. I’m getting ready for the season and want to prepare myself for the best year I’ve had.”

The Redskins were actively involved with Denver throughout Thursday in an effort to acquire Cutler. Cleveland, Chicago and the New York Jets emerged as the other front-runners, and the Bears completed the deal without involving a third team.

When the trade was announced, the Redskins declined to comment.

Even as talks continued at Redskin Park, Campbell worked out in the weight room and talked with coach Jim Zorn and several assistants and players.

“They all told me they believed in me,” Campbell said. “That definitely meant a lot.”

Teammates seemed happy Campbell was not traded and believe he will move on quickly from being offered around the league.

“Nobody wanted this trade to happen,” center Casey Rabach said. “Jason’s a good football player and a really good guy. He fits well with this team.”

Said receiver Antwaan Randle El: “It’s a tough deal, bottom line. You wonder how it will affect Jason. But he’s so even-keeled, so I think he’ll handle it as well as anyone could.”

Campbell knows a lot can happen between now and the start of training camp. The Redskins hold the No. 13 pick and could draft Southern Cal’s Mark Sanchez or another quarterback to develop him into their passer of the future.

“There’s no guarantees in football,” Campbell said. “You still never know what’s going to happen. You can’t jump to conclusions.”

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